The Importance Of Having Fun At The End Of An Expansion   21 comments

No matter where you turn in the blogosphere right now you can’t go 2 clicks without being assaulted with Cataclysm information about this, that and the next thing. People preparing, people sharing Beta thoughts, people taking wild guess about what it’s all going to be like. In all that saturation, there aren’t a whole lot of people still talking about the game. They are talking about the future. Which, I guess I understand. The current iteration of the game has been around awhile, and there are new shiny things on the horizon. But let’s be honest here – we are, at best, almost two months out from a release.

Now, I don’t know about you, but for the most part I am feeling overwhelmed with Cataclysm information. And by overwhelmed, I kinda mean that with the exception of some of the resto druid changes, I’m tired of everything being about Cataclysm. As I sift through my blog list in the morning, I find that I revel at posts that are about anything other than Cataclysm, they are a breath of fresh air and I cherish each of them. More and more, I find that I largely just skip over the Cataclysm ones. If they seem somewhat interesting, I’ll give it a skim, but otherwise I generally just shrug and move along.

As I flip through post after post about Cataclysm, I can’t help but wonder if bloggers aren’t sort of doing to Cataclysm, and WoW in general, what the Paparazzi did to Britney Spears. Overexposed and Oversaturated to the point that largely, save the “can’t look away from the train wreck” factor, people just stopped caring. The more I read about Cataclysm, I’m finding, the less I care about it. I can’t imagine that this is a good thing!

So, I thought that I’d try to talk about something else for a bit.

Let’s talk about having fun at the end of an expansion.

Before we do that, I have a bit of a confession to make. Lately I’ve been having a hard time getting excited to continue pushing our current progression “challenge”, Hard Mode Halion. I’m having a hard time mustering up the energy to care about the fight. This is only exacerbated by the fact that it seems like a good portion of our progression team sort of mirrors my feelings. Not only that – but our farmed content is starting to get sloppy as people just phone in their performances and go through the motions during raids.

Hey, I can’t necessarily say that I blame them. We’ve had this content for something like nine months now.

I’m pretty sure that people had more fun last week when we brought in something like 8 alts to kill Lich King than they did in all of the fights preceding that encounter. This is something that I definitely recognized.

Now, this past Monday we went back into Ulduar to give another go at Alone in the Darkness. A couple of people posted some true “zerg” videos and so we figured “why not, what have we got to lose”, and gave the zerg a try. In case you are curious on how the zerg works, you basically have your two tanks tank the immortals far enough away from Yogg that when they heal, they don’t heal Yogg. Once you are at about 8 Immortals, you have your DKs come up and unleash their Armies of the Dead, and shortly after that you have your shaman let their rocks loose. You then cycle through your tank and healer cooldowns while praying that DPS does not go insane, and can get through Yogg’s life before the tanks die.

Going into the final phase on Monday night, we were down 3 DPS. Including both of our Death Knights. This meant no armies. Well, it’s all about practice, so we decided to go with it. We plucked away at Yogg’s life bit by bit, and at some point two people went insane. Ok – we are now down 5 DPS. Well, keep going, we are already invested in it now. We went through our rocks, we went through our priest cooldowns, we went through our tank cooldowns. And we still had 3% to go. Our first tank bit it. Shortly after our second tank bit it. And then in very short order our raid started to perish.

But somehow, with all of the guardians running amuck randomly extinguishing people, Yogg’s life kept ticking down until eventually he was dead. We had three people left standing. Three. And you know what? The raid was laughing. There was chatter in vent. The raid was in high spirits. And it was pretty clear why. The raid had fun.

After we all rolled for a shot at Mimiron’s head, we headed down to Ruby Sanctum. Someone asked if we were going to work a bit on hard mode – and so we left it to the raid to decide. And you know what? People were more interested in if we were going to go back in for more Alone in the Darkness kills than they were for Ruby Sanctum. Not that I can blame them. We had fun – and, well, Hard Mode Halion really isn’t all that fun. Ultimately, with some prodding, people started to indicate that they’d rather just have a short raid night than throw themselves at Halion.

It’s important to take the temperature of your guild regularly

When you step back and analyze the reactions of the two events, it’s pretty clear that a good number of people are starting, or are already, kind of worn down on WotLK raiding. As we plan our raids going forward, it’s important to us that we engage in events that people enjoy and want to do. In this case – I think just about everyone wants a shot at Mimiron’s head. And really, the only painful part about getting there is reclearing Ulduar every week.

But hey – we can spruce that up a bit by doing some of the more unique achievements in the zone as we clear. The “fun” ones that you really don’t pay much attention to while you are working progression in the zone.

However, ultimately, the goal is to find something at the end of the expansion to keep people engaged and regularly attending raids. To pinpoint what is worth pushing, and what isn’t. While two months may seem like a fair bit of time – really it’s only 8 raid resets. And as that number counts down, so will people’s focus and desire to keep throwing themselves at things. It’s truly a challenge to balance the risk of pushing versus the rewards for pushing. As an expansion draws to a close, the rewards start to minimize and the scales are disproportionately weighted.

The closer an expansion grows, the more focus should be shifted to having fun.

Let’s face it. Everyone is probably experiencing raiders who have seemingly fallen off of the face of the planet. Every guild’s goal at this point should be maintenance of their raiding roster, assuming of course that you’d like to keep your raiding roster. And that’s a lot harder than it sounds. It’s hard to engage people with content that’s been available to them for 9 months. It’s even harder to try to motivate people.

As you approach “D-Day” (or I suppose “C-day”?) ensuring that your raid team has fun should become a top priority. Because people having fun tend to continue doing things that are fun. Offering options for Alts to join in on raids. Doing some more low key achievement runs. Farming for silly things like Mimiron’s head. Those are largely all things that might be more intriguing to people than simply clearing through ICC…again.

At this point, most raid teams can clear ICC in a day. So, why not orchestrate some fun things into some of that extra time? As people what they are missing, and what they’d like to complete.

Sure, I’m a little disappointed that we aren’t going to kill HM LK in a 25 man setting. But you know what, I’m ok with that. Every day I read a blog post or see someone on twitter who is lamenting the loss of their guild. Guilds that have been working on HM LK since March. Guilds that could no longer sustain their rosters as people burned out. And you know what? I’m glad that we didn’t try to force it on our guild. And because I feel even less committed about HM Halion than I do HM LK – I think I’d be OK if we don’t check him off our list either.

At this point in the expansion’s life cycle, as long as we keep having fun, and people continue to enjoy raiding, I think that is all that is important.

While everyone else is talking about Cataclysm, I think it’s important to remember that unless people continue to have fun now – Cataclysm won’t matter.

What kinds of things are you doing to keep things fun? Are you starting to feel “Cataclysm’d out”? How is your guild holding up during this transition time?

Posted September 29, 2010 by Beruthiel in Guild Management, Raid Leadership, Raiding

21 responses to “The Importance Of Having Fun At The End Of An Expansion

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  1. hear hear! I am with you. I am not interested in spending time slamming my head against a progression wall at this point. I want to have a good time with my WoW peeps.

  2. I agree so much. Tonight is LK attempts (10 normal ) but I really just want to study physics. Is that sad LOL.

  3. I agree with this for a lot of reasons.

    1. It’s hard to get excited about farming a zone when you aren’t really going to use that gear for additional progression.

    2. As I mentioned in a previous blog entry on my site, I think Blizzard makes a bit of a mistake by pretty much forcing people from one raid zone to another because of the large gear gap. It’s nice to raid in more than one setting. They need to give people more options. I can’t imagine how tired you are of seeing ICC after all these months.

    3. With the changes coming to raiding in Cataclysm, it may be more difficult to field a 25 man roster. It definitely depends on how Blizzard implements things, but I think the future of 25 man raiding is a little bit up in the air. So people burning out is definitely a bad thing for a guild’s future at this point.

  4. I wrote about my blah concerning the game right now last night :D

    I agree 110% that we gotta remember about the “fun” aspect of competitive gaming. Otherwise its just a grind.

  5. I think it was Shintar that recently wrote about how nice it actually is to get some space and time to breathe now that we’re pre-expansion: finally you’re at that state in the game when you can look back on all you achieved and aren’t hunting for gear sets anymore, kills or titles or ranks. just chill a little bit and do the things you usually never have time for or go back exploring the world! I like it!! =)

  6. To keep the game interesting, I rolled a character on the Alliance side.

    Even if my first level 60 ever was a dwarf (back in the day), I find it refreshing to experience the quests, the lore etc… as well as making new friends. It is also a way for me to enjoy the Azeroth zones that we know (and love) before the Cataclysm changes. Of course, I will never leave my beloved Forsaken rogue, but as of now, that’s what keeps me playing.

  7. We’re not officially raiding anymore, and it seems to make people happier for the time being. We still do some runs for our alts hoping to get them LK kills as well, and for some reason it’s a lot more fun doing that than doing “proper” progression raids. We’re also thinking of going back to do some old Ulduar achievements etc. so I guess we’ll see what we end up doing.

    Myself I’m taking it easy, but working on some old achievements/rep grinds I never finished (since I’m lazy about grinding) – finally got my Netherwing mount the other day *lol* Now onto the Nether Rays :P

    I can understand people being tired of the Cataclysm info, there’s so much out there and a lot of it is not even finalised so for now I rather wait and see what will happen amd enjoy the game for itself in the meanwhile :)

  8. It is so important to have fun as a guild, especially before an expansion hits. Right now I feel like beating my head against the wall and not raiding because raiding, right now, is *not* fun. We have such a huge emphasis on progression right now because we need to get LK 25 man down, and get me another 40 shards, but I don’t really feel like it anymore. The vent is dead silent with no chatter. When did WoW stop being fun and feel more like a job? It’s not all bad though. We do have a designated “Fun” Night in our guild when we run around acting like crazy people and the vent is alive with laughter. But…bleh. So much pressure to get things done as Cataclysm is getting closer. I am so tired. Alas.

    I think I’ll talk to my guild about lightening up.

    Thanks for the post Beru,

    Erinia

  9. I know our guild has been going towards HLK recently and the last few nights were painful for us. We normally can get to HLK in one night and kill everything before on hard mode, without a problem. We got up to Heroic Put our first night and then people kept screwing up and being sloppy. Even getting to Put was difficult.

    Our GM has been very vocal about people stepping up and saying they’re burned out or they want time off until Cata and he’s offered to temporarily replace those that want some time off until then. Nobody has volunteered – but you can see it in their performance that they’re tired and bored and apathetic and I would hate for it to come to a point where he takes stock of which people are phoning it in and replaces them.

    I’m fortunate, I only raid 2 days a week and provided I don’t get chosen for the HLK group (because any more than 1 resto druid is overkill), I would go down to one. I can handle one day a week raiding and then 6 days off to do what I want or have fun on my priest. But I know others in other guilds may not be as fortunate.
    :)

    • We have had some “off nights” recently where raiding has had some wtf moments.

      Actually – from what I’ve read, a second resto druid can really make the difference in the frostmourne room. Apparently when a lot of guilds added a 6th healer to the HLK rosters as the buff hit 30% it was another resto druid ;)

  10. Im expecting to see a little less of Beru around now during the off raid hours. Now that she has all the Northrend Rares finished, and Glee to watch.

  11. I worked on getting my “Explorer” title with my one remaining toon that didn’t have it yet. I figured he needed to say he’d been everywhere before the expansion changed it all. I’m also working on some achieves I’d bypassed, such as trying to finish all the cooking achieves, etc. It’s giving me something to do in the background instead of the usual instances and easier weekly raids. I’m not much on raiding so getting burnt out on LK isn’t really an issue for me.

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